Under the framework of the UNESCO Convention 2003 for the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), an ICH inventory has been prepared with safeguarding ICH as the primary objective. The inventory has been considered integral to raise awareness about ICH through documentation. The process of inventorying intangible cultural heritage and making inventories accessible to the public at large through online platforms is a vital part of encouraging the formation of creative safeguarding plans for intangible cultural heritage.

Definition of ICH as per the UNESCO Convention 2003 Article 2:-

“The “intangible cultural heritage” means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills – as well as the instruments, objects, artefacts and cultural spaces associated therewith – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize as part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity. For the purposes of this Convention, consideration will be given solely to such intangible cultural heritage as is compatible with existing international human rights instruments, as well as with the requirements of mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals, and of sustainable development.”

Being a society rich in ethnic, linguistic, and cultural diversity, Pakistan has a living legacy of socio-cultural knowledge expressed through multiple mediums. Recognising the need acknowledge and be proud custodians of heritage spanning over millennia, Pakistan ratified to the Convention 2003 on the 7th of October 2005.

Numerous steps have been taken for the safeguarding of ICH since ratification, and the goal towards the preparation of an ICH inventory through Community Based Inventorying was initiated in Nov 2015 through an collaborative endeavour untaken by THAAP in collaboration with UNESCO Islamabad funded by the Canada Fund For Local Initiatives and the Embassy of Switzerland. The inventory currently includes forty five elements, all from the Kalasha community dwelling in the Mumuret, Biriu, and Rukmu valleys of Khyberpukhtunkhwa Pakistan.

The inventory shall be periodically updated every four years keeping in mind the inherent evolution within ICH as a lived heritage.

Please click here to visit the dedicated website on the ICH Inventory of Pakistan

Inscription on the representative list of UNESCO

1.    Nauroz

Novruz, Nowroux, Nooruz, Navruz, Nauroz, Nevruz is celebrated on 21st of March, which is considered as New Year holiday and the beginning of Spring. There are various ceremonies, rituals, and cultural events held within every family and community, it enjoys traditional games, special cuisines, respect for nature, performances in music and dances, oral expressions and literature, handicrafts and painting masterpieces (in particular miniature arts). Values of peace and solidarity, reconciliation and neighborhood, cultural diversity and tolerance, healthy life-style and renewal of living environment are promoted and transmitted from generation to generation during this cultural event. Women play a major role in the cultural event, by managing the ceremonies and disseminating the traditional knowledge to the youth. It is a part of and strengthens the cultural identity of the states parties involved.

 2.    Falconry

Falconry, as a traditional art and practice of keeping, training and flying a bird of prey to take quarry in its natural state, practiced by people of all ages, genders and statuses, is recognized by its community members as part of their cultural heritage. It is a social tradition promoting respect for nature and the environment, transmitted from generation to generation through formal and informal means, and providing its communities with a sense of belonging, pride, continuity and identity.


 1.    Suri Jagek (Dossier Submitted)

As a ruling custom integral to the formation of the traditional luni-solar calendar dictating times for festivals, feasts and social events, as well as animal husbandry and agriculture of the Kalasha and Muslim community residing in the three valleys, consider Suri Jagek to be an integral part of their Intangible Cultural Heritage. While the knowledge bearers of the practice range from members of the Sharakat clan who are designated the task for accounting important social events,  Qazi's, farmers, shepherds, and village elders(males and females) of the community. National History & Literary Heritage Division has submitted a nomination file for its inscription on urgent Safeguarding list of UNESCO.


After 18th constitutional amendment act 2010, the subject of culture was devolved to provinces. In order to establish a National level team for safeguarding of ICH, National History & Literary Heritage Division signed a memorandum with CRIHAP, a Category-II office of UNESCO at Beijing for capacity building of the persons dealing with ICH in the country. Under this memorandum two training workshops have been held as detailed below.


This workshop was arranged by this Division in collaboration with CRIHAP from 17-23 December, 2015 at Beijing China. The representatives of Federal / Provincial Ministries / Divisions / Departments, PNCA, Lok Virsa, Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan participated in this workshop.


This workshop was jointly organized by CRIHAP, China and NH&LH Division in close collaboration with UNESCO Islamabad Office from 12-18/12/2016 at Margala Hotel, Islamabad.  It was also attended by the representatives of Federal / Provincial Ministries /Divisions/Departments, PNCA, Lok Virsa, Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan. During this workshop a field tour of Truk Art and Stone Carving was also arranged for hands on training.


National History and Literary Heritage Division, in collaboration with UNESCO Islamabad office organized a 04-day workshop on Community Based Inventorying of the ICH in Bahawalpur as first of its kind of activity by Federal Government in Pakistan. During this workshop as many as 41 ICH Elements in the surrounding areas of Bahawalpur were identified and documented. It is an attempt to build the capacity of local community for eventually contributing in safeguard of the ICH elements. It is a beginning of the series of such workshops that will follow across the country in coming times. Two villages, Abbas Nagar and 33-BC were selected as primary geographic location for intervention with the support of local organizations. Local craftsmen/women of various skills were engaged from these areas and main city for documentation. In addition representatives from district administration, local teachers, NGO workers and university faculty members and students were also engaged in this workshop.

Mr. Muhammad Baligh Ur Rehman, Federal Minister for M/o Federal Education and Professional Training graced the occasion in opening ceremony. The Commissioner, Bahawalpur Division was the chief guest at the evening of the closing ceremony.

WAY FORWARD – An outcome of CBI Workshop


  1. Establish ICH Cells within each administrative unit/Province, with clear mandate comprising all stakeholders headed by an appropriate individual (with substantial relevant expertise/portfolio). These cells will comprise of stakeholders from academia, concerned government departments, civil society organizations and tradition bearers (ustads) business community.
  2. The ICH Cells will be with standardized TORs, and Operational Plans, and develop comprehensive systems for database to be used nationwide.
  3. Federal government will expedite the process by writing to the Chief Secretaries of the Provinces with copies to the relevant department with the request to have ICH cell in place.
  4. Appoint a relevant Focal Person for each ICH Cell, including federal and all of the Provincesfor constant liaison, reporting etc, to meet the expectations of the partners and global community.
  5. Enhance Communication through creating an online group (Facebook, Google etc.)
  6. Separate budget will be allocated for the ICH Cells of the Provinces.


  1. Access to Experts to perform certain tasks& give inputs.
  2. At province level, create a trained group of ICH master trainers equipped to deal with matters concerning ICH including awareness building, inventorying etc.


  1. Final form will be adopted by all provinces and agencies for Community Based Inventorying, which should begin soon with quarterly reporting
  2. All will maintain a Register of Assets and Database as per 2) above and according to RL and USL and also identify the Best Safeguarding Practice if any. Furthermore each will  urgently start the process of Safeguarding in accordance to international standards in keeping with the UNESCO Convention 2003.
  3. The National Government will also maintain a List of National Assets based on Provincial Lists.
  4. Given that the threat  and risk to ICH is alarming, the Federal Government will develop a system of acknowledgement/ appreciation to encourage the Safeguarding process by communities , organizations and governments.
  5. All the ICH Cells and the line Department will reach out to academia, civil society, market players, financial companies as well other government departments e.g. education, forest, industry, agriculture, environment etc.  to encourage collaborative efforts.


The Committee after consultation with all the participants of the workshop nominates the following representatives from all administrative units: 

  1. Mr. Nazir Ahmed, Chairman, Federal
  2. Mr. Naeem Safi, KPK/FATA
  3. Mr. Waseem Raja, Federal
  4. Mr. JamilHussain, Balochistan
  5. Mr. HidayatUllah, Sindh
  6. Mr. Mughees bin Aziz, Punjab
  7. Mr. SajidHussain, GB
  8. Mr. LuqmanFarooq, AJK